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Unemployment Rate Falls from 14.2 to 11.1 Percent Women Continue to be Left Behind Print E-mail
( 2 Votes )
Written by Shane D. Williams   
Thursday, 26 June 2014 00:00

In every municipality of the country, people are working to develop their community. Therefore, it doesn’t take a statistician to figure out that unemployment is down in Belize. However, it is important to pay attention to the labour force survey conducted by the Statistical Institute of Belize because it tells us much more than unemployment figures.

The labour force survey provides useful information such as who are working; where are the jobs available and what types of jobs are available. The Statistical Institute of Belize released its preliminary results for the April 2014 labour force survey on Wednesday, June 25, and it shows that the unemployment rate has decreased from 14.2 percent in September of 2013 to 11.1 percent in April of 2014. (Also down from 11.7 percent in April of 2013) The labour force is made up of everyone 14 years of age and older who is employed, available and looking for work. In April of 2014, 2,753 households were randomly selected to be a part of the survey and responses were obtained from 6,500 individuals 14 years and older. 63.8 percent of those individuals were in the labour force. The others are students, housewives and others who were not available for work. According to SIB, there are now 151,317 people in the labour force which is an increase of 1,883 when compared to April, 2013. There are 93,411 males and 57,906 females in the force. 3,003 more males joined the labour force in 2014 and 1,120 females fell out. The Belize and Cayo Districts are responsible for 57.5 percent of the labour force at 35 percent and 22.5 percent respectively. Orange Walk hosts 12.7 percent, Corozal 12.6 percent, Stann Creek 10.1 percent and Toledo has 7 percent. The Belize District has the highest unemployment rate at 14.3 percent and Toledo has the lowest at 4.1 percent.

Anne Marie Williams, Executive Director of the National Women’s Commission, was in attendance as the survey findings were revealed. Once again, the figures show that women are far more likely to be unemployed, underemployed and left out of the force than men. 78.3 percent of working age men are in the labour force. Only 49.9 percent of women are. Though they only represent 38.3 percent of the labour force, 67.2 percent of the unemployed are women. The unemployment rate for women is more than three times that of men, 19.4 percent to 5.9 percent. SIB also notes that men are making about $200 more per month than women.

There was a net gain of 3,059 jobs in April 2014 when compared to April 2013. Fields that employed more people were agriculture, forestry and fisheries with 3,183; construction with 3,115; manufacture with 1,363; administration and support with 829; water supply with 668 and education with 480. These fields accounted for 10,377 more jobs. Fields that had less employment were accommodation and food with 1,318; wholesale and retail with 1,074; other services with 764; human health and social work with 653; transport and storage with 602 and public administration and defence with 544. These fields accounted for a loss of 7,318 jobs. 59.2 percent of employed individuals have a primary school education or less and 15 percent are underemployed. The next labour force survey will be conducted in September.